December’s fresh livens things up
  |  First Published: December 2013

Another new year is upon us and once again I really cannot work out what happened to 2013.

The 2013 fishing season here in Weipa was a ripper. Happy clients fished the rivers as well as inshore and offshore for consistently good results. Barra were a consistent standout, particularly early in the year with a bit of patience and local knowledge helping to get into them during those cooler winter months.

A good early hit of the wet season in late November and early December saw a good fresh in the Wenlock and Archer rivers, which no doubt helped the barra get up and down the rivers during the prime time to spawn. The rain and monsoonal weather did play havoc with the fishing locally during this time. Consistent storms and rain poured dirty water into the creeks and rivers, while a steady northwesterly kicked up a decent swell and made offshore uncomfortable for a week or so.

While these seas are not at all rough compared with southern standards, they really do stir up the waters of the shallow Gulf shutting down the beaches, inshore reefs and generally putting nearly all fish off the chew. Once the weather cleared a bit I fished a final week for the fishing season and found it to be consistently inconsistent, but with each day the weather improved so did the fishing.

Out wide the billfish seemed to spread during the swell with a hook-up missed on a lone sailfish the only excitement for the morning on our boat. An afternoon on big queenfish just outside the river mouth made for a top day though. Weipa Sportsfishing’s new guide Wade Alene fared much better, trolling within a mile or two of where we were he and his clients had a big black marlin turn up in the spread behind the 6m plate boat. After getting it excited with a teaser mullet the boys fed back a little live bait on a small circle hook and came up tight, a 4 hour fight ensured an a big Saltiga Dogfight and an estimated 500lb black was bought boatside for a few photos and a prompt release. Wade’s vast billfish experience no doubt was a factor in the hook-up and capture of this fish and was a top capture by the boys as Weipa’s billfishery continues to amaze.

Fishing into the new year will depend on the presence of the monsoon, cyclones and rains. In early December the weather had settled into a usual build up routine of a light southeasterly swinging to a westerly sea breeze in the afternoon. This should mean some top fishing as most fish species get active in these conditions and feed up before the next bout of northwesterlies start. Beaches and inshore reefs will be clear and calm in the mornings while glass outs in the middle of the day is the time to go wide chasing pelagics leaving for a nice run home in a following sea back to port.

During some nice weather a couple of weeks ago a couple of mates and I headed over to the east coast of Cape York for a fish and spearfish on the outer Barrier Reef, we only managed a couple of days over there but made the most of it with some great fish taken. In the mornings we spearfished taking some lovely coral trout and Spanish mackerel for the table. Some of the 30-70m ledges we dove were insane and we even saw dogtooth tuna in the water. The afternoons consisted mainly of GT popper fishing. Some of the strikes and bust offs were insane but we all managed to land our fair share of these brutes. By catch of bluefin trevally and red bass were a bonus. The first two hours of darkness were spent fishing for red emporer and large mouth nannygai, which were around in good numbers not far offshore.

They were tough days to take but someone had to do it and all this was done from our vessel of choice, a 5m Hooker Dory. I hope 2014 is good to you all and one to remember on the fishing front.

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